How To Onboard New SEO Clients

Brody Hall
Apr 15, 2024
onboard clients

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Your outreach was a success. A new contract has been signed—nice job! But before you go popping the champagne, remember: new SEO clients bring new anxieties. Will they disappear for weeks after asking for analytics access? Will they insist their nephew “knows HTML” and will fix SEO technical issues that are plaguing their website?

We’ve all run into these scenarios. It’s precisely why you need a rock-solid onboarding process. And we’re here to help—presenting the 10-step SEO onboarding checklist designed to turn even the most challenging client into your biggest advocate.

The 8 Steps of Effective SEO Onboarding

SEO onboarding in 8 steps. Let’s do this thing.

Step 1: Send a Welcome Packet

A good welcome packet eases those first-day jitters, sets expectations, and gets the relationship off to a fantastic start.

Here’s what to include:

  1. Send out a warm welcome email that uses their name, references something specific about their business, and briefly reiterates the top goals for their SEO project.
  2. Include a questionnaire that’ll help you get to the bottom of your new client’s expectations and goals.
  3. And included short bios or even just headshots of their main point of contact and anyone else they’ll interact with regularly. Putting faces to names builds rapport early.

Here’s an onboarding email template to help you get started:

Welcome [Client Name],

We’re so excited to partner with you on improving [Business Name]’s SEO. As promised, here’s a quick overview of what to expect over the next few weeks:

  • Let’s schedule a call to discuss timelines in more detail and introduce you to myself/the whole team. Let me know if these dates and times are suitable for you. [Date range]
  • We’ll be conducting our in-depth SEO audit of your site. We’ll keep you updated on our progress. [Date Range]
  • I’m also including [Name], your main point of contact here at [Agency Name]. I’ve CCed them into this email thread. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

And, if you’d be so kind, please fill out this questionnaire [link to Google document]. It will help us define your goals and give us a good basis to work from in our first call together.

We know SEO can sometimes feel overwhelming, so our goal is to make this process smooth and stress-free for you. Looking forward to achieving great things together!


[Your Name]

[Your Title]

Step 2: Host an Onboarding Call that Hits the Mark

The welcome package was the icebreaker. Now, the onboarding call is your chance to get to know your new client more intimately. A real-time conversation allows for nuance, builds rapport faster, and gives you the chance to demonstrate your expertise by answering their concerns on the spot.

Here’s what to cover on your call:

  • Introduce them to other team members who’ll be involved in their project, even if it’s just a quick hello.
  • Acknowledge their questionnaire responses, clarify anything, and ask follow-up questions about their ideal outcomes from SEO.
  • Get specific about the audit, reporting, and implementation phases. Be realistic, but don’t be afraid to highlight how your process is designed to get results efficiently.
  • Find out how often they want updates and their preferred method (email or calls).

Step 3: Secure Necessary Access

Chasing down logins is the least exciting part of onboarding… but there’s no avoiding it, unfortunately.

Here’s what you’ll likely need:

  • Website and hosting logins, like CMS platform (WordPress, Wix, or maybe even Squarespace), and any details on how updates were done in the past.
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Google Ads
  • Previous SEO audits, keyword research, or competitor analysis carried out by previous SEO teams, whether that be in-house or outsourced.
  • CRM or marketing automation tools, link-building platforms… anything that could impact SEO data.

Step 4: Conduct an In-Depth SEO Audit

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and dive into the inner workings of your client’s website. The real value lies in how you present your findings. Avoid overwhelming the client with jargon. Instead, frame your recommendations as solutions to their business goals and pain points.

Key areas to focus on (FYI: this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are a heap more you could audit):

  • Meta descriptions
  • Internal links
  • Page speed
  • Mobile optimization
  • Site structure
  • Canonical tags
  • Structured data

A friendly just-so-ya-know: Here at Loganix, we offer white-label SEO audit services. So, if audits aren’t your agency’s forte, don’t worry; we’ve got you.

Step 5: Comprehensive Competitor Analysis

Know your enemy, right? Well, in the world of SEO, your “enemies” can actually be a roadmap to success. They enable you to uncover untapped opportunities and help shape a strategy that’s uniquely designed to get your client ahead.

A couple of questions that will help you with your analyses:

  • What kind of content are they crushing it with?
  • How are they building their authority with backlinks?
  • Is their website lightning-fast or super easy to use on mobile?

The goal isn’t to become a carbon copy. It’s about finding those overlooked gaps your client can fill, weaknesses they can take advantage of and highlights what makes their business stand out in a crowded market.

Step 6: Strategy Review and Refinement

It’s time to connect the dots. In this step, you’ll transform all the data from your audit and competitor analysis into a strategic roadmap designed to achieve your client’s goals.

Here’s what to present:

  • Don’t just dump a report on them. Summarize the most important findings from your audit and competitor research in plain English.
  • Outline your suggested actions for on-page optimization, content strategy, potential backlink opportunities, and so on.
  • Explain which areas you believe should be addressed first for the quickest wins and which are more long-term.

Step 7: Establish Clear KPIs and Reporting Cadence

Let’s get specific about what a “win” looks like for your client. Think beyond just rankings. Ask them what would make them truly excited about their SEO investment—is it more leads, increased sales of a specific product, or getting more eyeballs on their blog?

Then, determine how they prefer to receive progress updates. Detailed monthly reports? Monthly email summaries? Quarterly strategy calls? Find the cadence and format that aligns with their needs. Be upfront about realistic expectations and timelines for seeing results. Honesty and transparency build trust from the very beginning.

Step 8: Schedule a Strategy Check-In

You’ve leveled on the cadence and format. Now, it’s time to go to work. During these check-ins, you won’t just be reporting numbers. It’s your chance to step back from the day-to-day tasks and take a big-picture look at their progress.

Here’s what to cover:

  • Celebrate what’s working well and discuss any areas where adjustments are needed.
  • Has their market changed? Did a competitor make a move? Keep an eye out for both threats and new ways to get them ahead.
  • As their SEO improves, their overall business goals might shift. These check-ins make sure your strategy aligns with their current priorities.

Tools to Streamline Your SEO Onboarding Process

With those eight steps, you’ve got a rock-solid onboarding process. Now, let’s make it even smoother. The right tools can save you serious time, minimize back-and-forth with clients, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Here are a few categories to consider:

  • Project management tools like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp allow you to keep all your client communication, timelines, and task progress in one central place.
  • Use Process Street or Google Forms to create templates for requesting website logins and analytics access.
  • Dedicated SEO audit software like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Screaming Frog will streamline the analysis process and provide client-friendly reports.
  • Semrush and Ahrefs are also great for tracking competitor rankings, backlinks, and content updates.
  • Client reporting tools like DashThis and AgencyAnalytics will save you hours.

Conclusion and Next Steps

A streamlined SEO onboarding process isn’t just about making your life easier (though that’s definitely a perk!). It’s about setting the foundation for strong client partnerships, efficient project execution, and achieving the long-term results that make your clients rave about your services.

But let’s be honest: even with a streamlined process, SEO onboarding takes time and effort. That’s where Loganix can step in. Our white-label SEO services take the heavy lifting off your plate. From in-depth audits to strategy development and execution, we seamlessly become an extension of your team.

Ready to supercharge your onboarding and deliver exceptional results for your clients? 

🚀 Well, don’t diddle-daddle – head over to our white-label services now. 🚀

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

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Written by Brody Hall on April 15, 2024

Content Marketer and Writer at Loganix. Deeply passionate about creating and curating content that truly resonates with our audience. Always striving to deliver powerful insights that both empower and educate. Flying the Loganix flag high from Down Under on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.